Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
Acne is not just women and teens problem.
Over 25% of acne sufferers
are men and this includes not just adolescents but actually grow up and otherwise very macho
guys. In fact, during last decade the
median age of people with acne (including men) has risen by almost 23%, from
20.5 years to about 26.5 years old.. In addition guys have obviously less
chance to camouflage acne with makeup while at the same time their acne is
usually more difficult to treat, and a general trend is for men to be more
concerned with their appearance, and more focused ( and spending) on their
looks including wellness, grooming and clothes.
Acne is a
manifestation of internal imbalance that leads to overproduction of sebum (skin
oil) by sebaceous glands. This extra sebum together with dead skin cells and
dirt creates an ideal condition for bacteria to grow and this, in turn, will
cause an inflammation that presents itself as ACNE (pimples, cysts, blackheads, whiteheads etc).
The most potent
stimulator of sebaceous glands are the male hormones known as androgens or
testosterone. While both women and men
actually produce all three types of sexual hormones (testosterone, estrogen and
progesterone) naturally men secrete much more restore and therefore their cases
of hormonal acne may be more severe and prevailing (chronic). In addition-
testosterone level increase due exercise and as it helps to build muscle mass
and lose fat, it also, as in our society still more men (and boys) are engaged in strenuous or even excessive
physical activities, their acne bounds are even more difficult to treat.
Understanding that androgen related hormones can influence sebaceous
gland secretions is only part of the story. Only 1-2% of these hormones
circulate freely in the blood; the other 98% are bound to a protein called Sex
Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). If
the androgen hormones are bound to SHBG in the blood they will not cause acne,
it is only the "free form" of DHT and DHEAS that can cause the
sebaceous glands to make more sebum. Since men naturally have more testosterone
related hormones in their bodies, it is more likely that more of the analogs
(DHT & DHEAS) may be found in the free form leading to an increased risk of
Obviously guys being guys-have more testosterone.
There are two major approaches to acne treatment
Most of the products that are promoted to
control acne symptoms such as non-prescription gels, creams, lotions, pads etc help
just to exfoliate and cleanse the skin
and include two familiar ingredients:
those products may help- they usually do NOT break the acne cycle and may also
irritate, dry and prematurely age the skin.
more “serious” treatment options include:
Here the world of caution is required. Antibiotics may cause a number of side effects
such as stomach problems, allergic reaction, UV rays sensitivity and as a
result higher probability of skin cancer: and finally their overuse leads to
developing antibiotics resistant strains of bacteria that represent a serious
danger to our health. Isotretinoin (brand name Accutane) is presently a subject
of class action suit for its serious adverse effects have been taken off the
market while its generic forms are still in use with serious health warning
including possible liver toxicity,
inflammatory bowel disease, hair loss and even potential depression and
suicidal tendencies in younger males.
some supplements designed to “help” acne can actually cause other
problems. Too much zinc can cause anemia
and this can lead to a more severe infection and too much vitamin A – a vision